The proposed study has several specific, interrelated aims: (1) To closely examine the nature and variability of the classroom instruction 4th-5th grade children receive;(2) To investigate children's language and literacy development from 4th grade through the end of 5th grade including development of comprehension strategies and use of inferences in reading narrative and expository text;this includes the use of reading comprehension strategies using eye-tracking methodology;(3) To examine the contribution of 4th and 5th grade instruction to children's language and literacy development. This includes examining whether the effect of specific instructional strategies depends on individual children's language and literacy skills. That is, are there child characteristic by instruction (child X instruction) interactions? and (4) To develop dynamic forecasting intervention models for 4th and 5th grade students, which take into account child X instruction interactions. Dynamic forecasting intervention models use multilevel models to predict optimal patterns of instruction (i.e., that lead to greater reading skill growth) for individual children based on their language and literacy skills. The study aims will be met by building on and extending research that investigates the effect of individualized literacy instruction from 1st through 3rd grade on students'literacy development. Two studies in 1st grade reveal that children, who received individualized instruction, using dynamic forecasting intervention models, demonstrated greater reading skill growth than did children in control classrooms. For the proposed study, students who are currently participating in the 3rd grade study and who have completed the 1st and 2nd grade study (n = 225), and their classmates, will be followed into 4th and 5th grade (total anticipated n = 550 students, 30 4th and 5th grade classrooms in 8 schools). Their language and literacy skills will be assessed in the fall and spring. Classroom instruction will be observed, video-taped, and coded for each child late fall, winter, and early spring. Eye-tracking methods will be used to examine more closely children's use of reading strategies. Data from this study will permit the close examination of children's literacy skill development - including identifying the complex and transactional associations among key components of literacy that may respond to particular types of instruction. Multilevel hierarchical linear modeling, including cross-classified random effects models, will be used to conduct the analyses. By explicating quantifiable, albeit complex, links between children's assessed language and literacy skills and amounts and types of instruction to be provided, dynamic forecasting intervention models may have important implications for increasing understanding of how children learn complex multidimensional cognitive tasks (such as reading) and the critical role of instruction from first through fifth grade in facilitating this learning. Long term, these results have the potential of guiding the design and implementation of more effective literacy instruction in the upper elementary grades.

Public Health Relevance

Proficient literacy skills are critical in today's information driven world and yet two-thirds of children fail to achieve proficient reading skills during elementary school. By understanding how 4th and 5th grade classroom instruction, across the content areas, affects children's literacy development, we can develop dynamic forecasting models of proficient reading that can be used to design and implement more effective instruction for 4th and 5th graders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Cognition and Perception Study Section (CP)
Program Officer
Miller, Brett
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Florida State University
Organized Research Units
United States
Zip Code
McLean, Leigh; Connor, Carol McDonald (2018) Relations between third grade teachers' depressive symptoms and their feedback to students, with implications for student mathematics achievement. Sch Psychol Q 33:272-282
Kim, Young-Suk Grace; Petscher, Yaacov; Wanzek, Jeanne et al. (2018) Relations between Reading and Writing: A Longitudinal Examination from Grades 3 to 6. Read Writ 31:1591-1618
Connor, Carol McDonald; Mazzocco, Michèle M M; Kurz, Terri et al. (2018) Using assessment to individualize early mathematics instruction. J Sch Psychol 66:97-113
Dombek, Jennifer; Crowe, Elizabeth C; Spencer, Mercedes et al. (2017) Acquiring Science and Social Studies Knowledge in Kindergarten Through Fourth Grade: Conceptualization, Design, Implementation, and Efficacy Testing of Content-Area Literacy Instruction (CALI). J Educ Psychol 109:301-320
Day, Stephanie L; Connor, Carol M (2017) Examining the relations between self-regulation and achievement in third grade students. Assess Eff Interv 42:97-109
McLean, Leigh; Sparapani, Nicole; Toste, Jessica R et al. (2016) Classroom quality as a predictor of first graders' time in non-instructional activities and literacy achievement. J Sch Psychol 56:45-58
Connor, Carol McDonald (2016) A Lattice Model of the Development of Reading Comprehension. Child Dev Perspect 10:269-274
Terry, Nicole Patton; Connor, Carol McDonald; Johnson, Lakeisha et al. (2016) Dialect variation, dialect-shifting, and reading comprehension in second grade. Read Writ 29:267-295
Connor, Carol McDonald; Day, Stephanie L; Phillips, Beth et al. (2016) Reciprocal Effects of Self-Regulation, Semantic Knowledge, and Reading Comprehension in Early Elementary School. Child Dev 87:1813-1824
Connor, Carol McDonald; Radach, Ralph; Vorstius, Christian et al. (2015) Individual differences in fifth graders' reading and language predict their comprehension monitoring development: An eye-movement study. Sci Stud Read 19:114-134

Showing the most recent 10 out of 29 publications